Here's the one map to show how disproportionately AIDS affects black America. The darker the red, the high the percentage of the population living with an HIV diagnosis.
The map was created by AIDSvu, an epidemiological research center that compiles city-by-city maps of AIDS rates. While they are releasing these new 2010 maps on Thursday, National HIV Testing Day, this story is tragically not new. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, around 44 percent of all new HIV infections are in the African-American community. And keep in mind, black Americans make up only 14 percent of the population. But yet their infection rates are eight times higher than the rates for white people.
When you break down AIDSvu's maps at the city level, you can see how sharp the contrasts are in a given municipality. "In many cities, there is a pattern of heavily impacted urban cores with relatively lower impact in areas further from city centers," AIDSvu reports in a summary of its findings.
You can find more city-by-city comparisons on the AIDSvu website.
In the Southeast, the visual differences in white and black infection rates are some of the most striking.
And when you compare HIV diagnosis rates with poverty rates, it is easy to see how they go hand in hand.
Last year, PBS Frontline took a deep look into why HIV rates have exploded in Southern and black communities. The answers are complex: Part of it is homophobia in black churches; part of it is inadequate testing and access to health care. A part of it is poverty; a part of it is health education. Check out the program. It's worth your time.
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